Minnesota Department of Health officials confirmed Wednesday that “waning immunity” among the vaccinated, which leads to breakthrough COVID-19 cases, is playing a role in the state’s pandemic surge.
Minnesota has experienced one of the highest rates of new infections in the nation over the past seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to state health officials, weakened immunity among the vaccinated has something to do with it.
“There is growing consensus, I would say, among state health officials and clinical leaders and research leaders that waning immunity does have something to do with this most recent wave. We’re starting to even see potentially some additional resurgence at the nationwide level after a number of weeks of seeing pretty steady declines,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said during a Wednesday press briefing.
“It’s pretty clear it does wane over time and we think that a lot of the breakthrough cases that we’re seeing in Minnesota and other states are among the people who were vaccinated the earliest,” she continued.
Waning immunity kicks in roughly six months after a completed vaccination series, health officials said during the press conference.
Malcolm believes this highlights the importance of booster shots, but others think it’s time to “declare the epidemic over and accept that this will be another pathogen we live with.”
At briefing today, Minn. DOH basically confirmed my description of the situation–breakthrough events are very common. their solution–get vaxed again. My solution–declare the epidemic over and accept that this will be another pathogen we live with.
— Healthy Skeptic (@healthyskeptic_) November 10, 2021
Kris Ehresmann, director of MDH’s Infectious Disease Division, was asked directly about the large number of breakthrough cases and deaths in Minnesota. Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 8, 111 of the 168 reported deaths were among the vaccinated.
Breakthrough cases have surpassed 64,000 in Minnesota and more than 483 fully-vaccinated individuals have died from the virus.
One reporter put it this way: “My point was that it looks like numerically each week more of the COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota are in the vaccinated people rather than in the unvaccinated people, even if the rate of deaths is higher in the unvaccinated people right now because they’re a smaller number of people.”
“I think that we have acknowledged that vaccinated individuals have become collateral damage in the blizzard of COVID that we’re seeing,” Ehresmann responded.
Yet some of the country’s top leaders, including the president himself, continue to insist that vaccinations have made COVID-19 a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
“This has become a problem of the unvaccinated,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra claimed at a Mayo Clinic event Wednesday. “It’s become clear that a state that has high levels of vaccination like Minnesota is still seeing its rate of infection rise. Fortunately, a lot of those who are infected who had a vaccine are living but principally the folks, 99% of the people who are dying today from COVID are the unvaccinated.”